Where is Virtual Care Headed Months After the Initial Surge in Telehealth Visits?

Virtual care
Summary:

Telehealth visits have increased drastically…but will that continue? Use the current trend to make decisions about your service’s future.

The telehealth boon is expected to generate $250 billion in new innovation and research to better meet patient needs and preferences. This massive shift in investment in the space is why now is an optimal time to start building and expanding your telehealth service, especially if you hope to compete for the new wave of virtual patients. 

Prior to the pandemic, just under 11% of patients had used telehealth at least once. However, even with telehealth usage decreasing from it’s highest levels in April, medical experts still estimate that telehealth demand exploded by 4,000% from March 2019 to March 2020. In fact, it is estimated that 46% of patients plan to continue to use telehealth services for routine visits. This signals that telehealth, as a viable form of healthcare management, is here to stay.

As patients become more comfortable with getting medical advice from the comfort of their homes, expect more innovation to flood the space. Health physicals, mental health appointments, and even pre-op visits are becoming more mainstream as virtual visits, allowing patients to quickly check in with their healthcare providers.

With the spread of the COVID-19 continuing and as an approved vaccine is yet to be released, the “no contact” way of life is expected to persist. Retail stores and restaurants have all created a “contactless experience” for consumers. And, this trend is expected to permeate nearly every industry that would have traditionally required in-person interaction. This is why having a telehealth service offering is a viable strategy to keep your health brand in front of patients that want a convenient, yet safe, healthcare experience.

The full scope of telehealth services ranges from virtual visits with a medical provider as well as text message, live chat, and remote monitoring features that can be delivered via an app. The use of messaging between patients and their care providers has exploded, with over 19% of patients preferring to contact their doctor via text message than through a healthcare portal.

The unique opportunity in this new and rapidly booming telehealth space is endless. The key to capitalizing on the growth of the telehealth industry is to effectively market to patients who are actively looking for lower cost and more convenient ways to manage their health. By positioning your telehealth brand through various digital channels and by leveraging paid search ads tied to specific telehealth-related keywords, you could capture a large portion of these virtual patients.